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Growing Into a Safer, More Valuable Employee

Mere change is not growth. Growth is the synthesis of change and continuity, and where there is no continuity there is no growth.

~ C.S. Lewis

The history of safety is an interesting study in continuity and change.  Safety has always been about reducing the risk of injury, but has always been challenged by man’s ability to deal with changes.  Humans don’t really like change unless it is slow and comfortable.

Some people say they like change but it is because they are never happy with their current situation and continually complain no matter what’s happening.  Others will agree with change and say, “Now, that is change I can agree with” if the change is made to accomplish a goal.  That kind of change has continuity and makes good sense.  Safety rules that mitigate the risk of injury are such changes.

I see companies that apply a rule for PPE use because they have recognized a hazard.  Maybe that hazard has been around for many years, but it has recently been targeted for mitigation strategies.  Many times this stirs up the people doing the work because, to them, it seems stupid.  They will say, “I don’t know anyone that’s been hurt!”  These are people who don’t really understand how a workplace is made safe.

When people have been trained to understand “how to do safety,” they typically understand changes in the rules. People who are growing in their careers feel challenged and want to gain knowledge and bring more value to the job.  People who are stagnant tend to resist change because they don’t have an appreciation for learning.  Their attitude is that they already know everything they need to know about their job.  For some, being put in a position where they have to learn and apply something new brings about unpleasant emotions.  Anger and fear are emotional behaviors you will observe.

As a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), I can assure you I have not learned everything about safety.  It amazes me how much there is to learn.  Personally, I want to grow so I can help my clients to prevent every workplace injury.  To accomplish that, I have to be open to learning from others and hearing what they have to say and continue to learn.  I want to encourage you to consider your personal commitment to learning more about safety in your job and industry.  Here are a few questions that might help you identify your attitude toward learning:

-       Do you avoid attending training (safety, technical, human performance, etc.)?

-       Do you think that everyone else needs to learn more, but you don’t because you have been around longer?

-       When attending training, do you sit in the back of the class outwardly showing your distaste by talking to others while the instructor is teaching?

-       Do you sit and not participate in the class so that everyone knows you don’t want to be in the class?

-       Or do you engage by sitting near the front, participating in discussions, taking notes, and asking pertinent questions?

-       Would others look at you and say you are a learner?

If you answered yes to the last two questions you are growing or at least seeking information that will improve your ability to perform on the job.  It is well known that people like to be around people who are growing and tend to avoid people who are angry, stagnant, and fearful.  Confidence comes from knowing that you are willing and able to learn and apply new skills.  Organizations in the world look for people who are continually growing by learning and understanding more about their work.

Opportunity awaits those who are prepared to accept the challenge of a new task.  To be ready, one must be willing to learn, apply, and grow.  There is always something new to learn about working safe.  Next time you attend a safety class, try sitting closer to the front so you can pay attention and ask questions.  Do this and you will be helping to improve your workplace’s safety culture so that Nobody Gets Hurt.

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About the Author

Carl Potter is a Certified Safety Professional and is a highly sought after motivational speaker, and has taught thousands of leaders, and employees how to create a safe workplace through his Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop.  In addition his latest book: Safety Attitudes has become a best seller and is challenging everyone to improve their workplace’s safety culture.

His workshop is now available online 24/7s at: www.hazardrecognitionworkshop.com

His books are also available at: www.safetybooks.com

More information about his speaking and teach topics are available at: www.carlpotter.com

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